Tag Archives: guests

May 22

Ask Etta: Non-Wedding Events—Who to Invite and How to Invite Them

While we dish about the hottest trends and latest designs (aka the fun parts of wedding planning!) we also know how stressful prepping for the big day can be. So, we would like to formally introduce you to Etta, our new etiquette expert. She’s ready and happy to delve into your every etiquette dilemma.

Quite a few people have asked about who to invite to non-wedding events and how to invite them. So here’s what Etta had to say…

Who to Invite

When it comes to weddings with a large amount of out-of-town guests, it is completely normal to have pre and post-wedding activities to entertain them while they’re in town. It’s also fine to to invite only certain people to these activities, as long as you have defined guidelines for who those people are. For example, it is totally acceptable to invite only out-of-town guests to your events, and to leave the local people out. This is done regularly for weddings and most guests will completely understand that your goal is to entertain the people who do not live there and have to stay in hotels, pay for travel, etc.

If, however, you decide to invite some local people and some not, you may end up hurting feelings or causing resentment between guests unless you have clear guidelines for your decisions. Since your wedding is meant to be a celebration of a joyful time, make sure that your events either include everyone, just out of towners, just bridal party, just family,  or a combination, etc. You want to try to avoid inviting some local friends but not others, or some local family but not all. If you decide you want some local people, etiquette states there really is no choice but to invite them all. You may also want to mix events; for example, have one event that includes everyone and then have a collection of smaller events only for your out-of-town guests. This way, everyone will feel included in something!

How to Invite Them

It is customary to send a separate invitation for the non-wedding events. This allows you to invite the people you want included for that particular event. Keep in mind, this invitation does not need to be as formal as the wedding invitation nor do you need to include formal response cards. It is perfectly acceptable to have email, phone or online RSVP for events like the rehearsal dinner, post-wedding brunch, etc.

If you are having multiple events that the same people will be invited to, another idea is to create a little packet to inform guests of all the events. This informational invite can outline your pre-wedding events as well as post and also be sent separately from your wedding invite. Think of it as a little itinerary for the weekend.

Are Non-Wedding Events Mandatory?

It is perfectly fine not to have additional pre and post-wedding events. However, it is recommended to have a rehearsal to practice the details and logistics of the next day. But, a postrehearsal party isn’t obligatory although a nice opportunity for the couple’s families to come together. Another nice gesture for out-of-town guests is to provide a list of local restaurants and/or things to see and do in lieu of or in addition to a physical event.

Hope this helps clear up all the trickiness around the non-wedding events!

Have an etiquette question for Etta? Email us at etta@weddingpaperdivas.com and she’ll post an answer for you.

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July 26

The Top 10 Forgotten Invitees: Things to Know

We all know that you simply can’t invite everyone you know to your big day, but there are certain people who get left off the list more than others. Did you forget to (or decide not to) send invitations to these top 10 most forgotten wedding invitation recipients?

  1. Kids. When the budget gets tight, they are generally the first group left out of the mix.
  2. Exes. Even if you are still close, it can be hard to squeeze out another place setting for an ex on your wedding day.
  3. Great Aunts and Uncles. We blame poor health and/or travel concerns for this one.
  4. Second Cousins. In general, they don’t expect to be invited anyway!
  5. Childhood Friends. This can definitely lead to hurt feelings, but if you haven’t spoken in 15 years we don’t think your fifth grade promise to invite your BFFs should still stand.
  6. Neighbors. Again, this group doesn’t generally expect and invitation unless you are particularly close.
  7. Coworkers. It’s always nice to be invited, but certainly not a must!
  8. Non-Mutual Friends. The friends you share in common are likely the friends you spend the most time with, so anyone who doesn’t like to hang out with your future spouse might not make the cut.
  9. Friends’ Families. Sometimes parents of close friends are invited, but it’s definitely not expected by any means.
  10. Friends Who Argue with Your Fiance. If you’re trimming guests from your list, this is a natural. Who wants to invite drama on their wedding day?

Do you have any forgotten guests you’d add to the list? Leave a comment and tell us!

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December 11

Rant or Rave: Wedding Reception Games

One of our staffers recently attended a wedding reception that started with a game—each table was assigned a song, and then asked to come up with an impromptu dance for that song that they would then perform for the entire group.

The young people at the wedding really got into the fun little activity, but—surprise surprise!—Great Aunt Sally and Uncle Duane weren’t too excited about dancing to Sir Mix-a-Lot.

wedding-dances

Have you ever attended a wedding that included games at the reception? Would you happy participate, or secretly sneak off to the bathroom for the duration of the activity? What games work and what games simply don’t?

Do wedding reception games make you want to rant or rave?

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September 18

Rant or Rave: Following Up on Declined Invites

In general, when you send out wedding invitations, you have a pretty good idea of who will be RSVPing “Yes” and who will be sending their regrets. Sometimes, however, those reception cards can be a bit of a shocker.

We’ve heard stories about close friends declining invitations with little to no excuse, leaving the engaged couple confused to say the least. This type of scenario has us wondering—if a declined invitation hurts your feelings or leaves you baffled, is it appropriate to speak up? Can you ask why a guest isn’t attending your celebration?

What’s the best way to handle such a tricky situation? Have you ever declined a wedding invitation from a close friend? Do confrontations over declined invitations make you want to rant or rave?

Vintage Magnolias Response Cards

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September 4

Rant or Rave: Multiple Mandatory Wedding Events

This summer, one of my dear friends was dragged to an engagement party, a bridal shower, a bachelorette weekend (not just one night!), another bridal shower and, of course, the wedding. She was asked to bring gifts to every event, and to help pay for the parties more often than not.

The real kicker is, she wasn’t in the bridal party. She was the only non-bridal party guest who was expected to be at every event because she’s know the bride since they were kids.

What wedding events should be mandatory for non-bridal party members? Who should be expected to pay for extra events? What’s the proper protocol for close friends who aren’t bridesmaids or groomsmen? Rant or rave about it!

rant-or-rave

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August 7

Rant or Rave: Wedding Crashers

We’ve heard this story time and time again:

You invite a friend to your wedding. You’ve perfectly budgeted, so when he asks if he can bring his girlfriend, you give him your regrets and let him know that you simply can’t accommodate another guest. He knows at least a dozen other people at the wedding, so you assure him it will be fun without his girlfriend by his side.

Your big day arrives, and lo and behold you see your friend saunter up with his girlfriend. Iin front of all of your guests while you are standing there in your wedding attire with your new spouse, he asks, “It’s okay if Jenny stays for the reception, right?”

This is a classic wedding crasher sabotage move. Bringing a guest who is not invited is a faux pas all on its own, but asking your permission on the day of your wedding is downright rude.

What would you do? Smile and say, “Of course,” or toss him and his girlfriend out to make more room for your more polite friends?

What’s the proper way to handle a wedding crasher? Is it the more the merrier? Rant or rave about it!

wedding-crashers

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June 23

Diva Dish: Wearing White to a Wedding

Dear Divas,

I am going to a beach wedding this summer and I’ve been searching for a light, airy dress to wear for weeks.  Since white is very in style right now, I see it everywhere–and I love it.  I can’t seem to find a dress I like that ISN’T white.  So, my question is:  Is it OK if I wear white to the wedding?  What if it’s a sun dress style–not remotely bridal? What about primarily white with accent colors? Help!

Wondering About White

whitewedding

Dear Wondering About White:

Ahhh, the age-old question:  Can you wear white to a wedding?  My first instinct is to say no.  The bride has spent months planning her wedding, choosing a dress, and ensuring that she will sparkle and shine on her wedding day.  To detract any attention from her seems mildly disrespectful, both to her feelings and the time she spent planning the wedding.  Particularly in the case of a beach wedding, many dresses tend to be more casual, so a sundress may not look that drastically different from the wedding dress.  However, I do feel there are exceptions to this rule.  A dress that is white with accent colors most likely will not resemble a wedding gown, and therefore is ok to wear.  Use your best judgement and take the person getting married, the style of wedding and your personal style in to account–is the bride the type that wants all eyes on her?  Could the dress you’re considering double for a wedding gown?  Do you have other options available to you that would still fit your style?  If  you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are good you should not be wearing white.

In general I would err on the side of caution–this is someone you care about getting married–although white might be in style, you don’t want to wear it and risk the feelings of a friend.   There are plenty of other colors that are “in style”–have you considered gray?  Very stylish and subtle.  I remember a woman at my wedding wearing a white evening gown.  Although she wouldn’t have been mistaken for the bride, it still irked me slightly.  It seemed thoughtless, almost as though she gave no thought to the type of event she was attending–and I’m not even the type that would care that much!  As the old saying goes, better safe than sorry!   Good luck!

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June 2

Diva Dish: How Much to Spend on a Wedding Gift?

Dear Divas,

A friend of mine from college recently got engaged.  I was invited to her wedding, but because I live out of state, I’m unable to attend.  I still want to send her a gift, however, we haven’t been close for a while.  What is the appropriate amount to spend if I’m not attending the wedding and haven’t maintained a close relationships with this girl?  On the same note, what is the appropriate amount to spend if I AM attending a wedding (with a date) of a close friend?  Help!

Gift Gal

gifts

Dear Gift Gal,

What a great question!  I think this is something that almost every person has to deal with at one time or another.  Especially in these tough times, digging deep in the pockets for a wedding gift can be rough.  Therefore, it helps to know what proper etiquette states is the correct amount to spend.

Happily, the truth is that you should spend what you can afford.  There is no sense in breaking the bank if you truly can’t afford it . A gift is just that–a gift–and the bride and groom will appreciate anything you can afford to give them.  If you do want some sort of gauge, though, the rule of thumb is to try to spend as much as you think your meal would cost.  If it’s a buffet, a safe guess is around $40-$50 a person.  If it’s a served meal, I’d guess closer to $75-$100 a person.  Again, it’s okay to adjust these numbers to fit YOUR budget!

If you’re not attending the wedding but want to send a gift anyway, any amount really works.  A small token of your congratulations is welcome at any amount.  I tend to spend around $50, however, if they’re close friends I’ll spend more, if they’re more distant, I might even spend less.  You’ll be appreciated for being a thoughtful person in spite of your inability to attend the wedding.

Happy gifting!

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April 7

Diva Dish: Who Do We Invite to Non-Wedding Events?

Dear Divas,

We are getting married at the end of 2009.  Since more than half of our guests are coming from out of town—some as far away as Australia—we want to make sure we have some time to spend with them before and after the wedding.  The other half of our guests are primarily local family and friends.  After inviting all of the people you care about to the wedding, is it okay to only plan pre and post-wedding events for a select group of people?  Is it okay to exclude some and invite others?

Baffled Bride

events

Dear Baffled Bride,

When it comes to weddings with a large amount of out-of-town guests, it is completely normal to have pre and post-wedding activities to entertain them while they’re in town.  It’s also fine to to invite only certain people to these activities, as long as you have defined guidelines for who those people are.  For example, it is totally acceptable to invite only out of town guests to your events, and to leave the local people out.  This is done regularly for weddings and most guests will completely understand that your goal is to entertain the people who do not live there and have to stay in hotels, pay for travel, etc.

If, however, you decide to invite some local people and some not, you may end up hurting feelings or causing resentment between guests.  Since your wedding is meant to be a celebration of a joyful time, this is definitely not something you’ll want to do!  Just make sure that your events either include everyone, just out of towners, just bridal party, etc.  If you decide you want some local people, etiquette states there really is no choice but to invite them all.  You may also want to mix events; for example, have one event that includes everyone and then have a collection of smaller events only for your out of town guests.  This way, everyone will feel included in something!

Good luck!

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March 27

Rant or Rave: Polling Your Wedding Guests

In the era of Facebook status updates, MySpace bulletins and Twitter mania, we are all used to posting our every thought online and getting instant feedback from friends and family members. As a result, it shouldn’t be too big of a shock that some couples have even started using social media as a key decision-making tool during the wedding planning process.

We’ve heard stories about engaged couples using online polls to ask family and friends to determine what food, drinks and music they would like at the reception, how the bride should wear her hair and even whether or not the groom should shave his head for the big day.

Are you polling your guests to help plan your wedding? Do you trust them to make decisions on your behalf? Can online polling save you time and hassle, or does it take some of the fun out of wedding planning?

Does polling your wedding guests make you want to rant or rave?

wedding_poll

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